My friend and I are both in relationships with people who have depression so sometimes it’s quite interesting comparing notes and talking about various information and real life stories we stumble across.
One thing we stumbled across a few days ago was about how to love someone with depression. These things are actually pretty rare to come across (let alone something about how to survive loving someone with depression – which has been my main inspiration for starting this blog). It was quite “softly softly” but did say that people who love people with depression should remember the airplane safety regulations and put their own oxygen mask on first. My friend’s translation of this was put your own mask on and then put the mask on the person suffering from depression, as if they were a child. My translation was I’m responsible for keeping myself alive and my man is responsible for keeping himself alive, depression or not, because he’s a grown up too.
I think our different takes on such a small thing made us both stop and think. My friend that maybe she should consider herself more often (hopefully) and me that maybe I can be too harsh?
I think there are a lot of reasons we think so differently though. My friend has been in her relationship for 15 years and I’ve been in mine for 4. Her other half has always struggled with depression, but generally refused help until relatively recently, and now he’s on medication and is actually able to function normally most of the time. Things are on the up!! Yay!!! 😃 Me? I’m the one waiting. My other half has been on antidepressants 3 times that I know of, twice during our relationship and once before, and they’ve always helped him enormously. Until he feels better and decides that his own wisdom is the best advice in the whooole world and stops taking them. Because why not? 🤔 This time around though, it’s different again. Let me explain…
Earlier this year my other half did a 4 week stint in rehab for cannabis addiction. Now, this sounds fucking stupid, I had NO CLUE he smoked weed until a year and a half in to our relationship. I have no sense of smell, his eyes were never pink when I saw him (all of twice a week) because he was so used to smoking it, and I never ever saw him roll a joint 😕 Anyway.
He was told when he first sought help for his addiction (2 and a half years ago now) that his depression was drug induced. Therefore, quite logically, he expected to come out of rehab all happy and shiny and surrounded by fucking rainbows and singing bunnies or something. But actually life was waiting for him. And life can be really REALLY fucking hard. Especially with all the shit he had waiting for him 😟 Now, I’ve done some research into this and it is apparently exceptionally common to suffer from depression after rehab at the best of times. Rehab is without doubt the single greatest thing he ever has or ever will do with his life. He actually has a chance of a future now and that is ridiculously AMAZING and I couldn’t be more proud of him! But one fucking SHIT fucking BOLLOCKS thing to come out of it is that he no longer “believes in mind altering substances”. Including antidepressants.
I would at this point like to emphatically say that THIS IS NOT AN NA (narcotics anonymous) SAYING OR BELIEF. It is just my beautiful fucking arse of a boyfriend thinking he knows best!!!!! I did point out that the particular mind altering substances mentioned in our conversation are specifically designed to alter the fucking brain because it’s not quite firing right. Sometimes the brain needs a little help, right? I had a chest infection, it didn’t clear up on its own, I took antibiotics and I got better. Medicine and science have created these things to help us. We don’t have to suffer in silence because the help is there. Unless you don’t want it.
My boyfriend… we need a name for him… let’s call him Mash. Like the potato. Ok, so, Mash hasn’t stayed over at my house in over a year. I am a single mum and because of Mash’s exotic taste in tobacco, I’ve not allowed him to get to know Boyface (not The Boy’s real name, don’t worry). Mash was only allowed to stay over once a fortnight while Boyface was with his Father Dearest. For whatever reason that then stopped at the start of August last year. When I asked why? He said he hadn’t even thought about it. Charming, huh? I still don’t have an answer, either.
You know what else is fucking weird? I’ve never been to his house. Ever. I know he’s not married or cheating or anything like that (I used to be a professional online stalker) but it is still fucking weird. And it’s because his depression makes him hate everything about his life, so because he lives with his dad, that means…….. I don’t know… I’ve never managed to figure that one out but probably something along the lines of he thinks I’ll judge him for it?
Goalposts for going to his house are constantly changing. The latest was after our first session of couples therapy. We went to couples therapy for about 3 months before her telling us Mash needs to sort himself out before we can fix us (which I’d been saying for months) and she won’t see us anymore. And I’ve still not been to his damn house! I just want to know what it looks like so when I talk to him I can picture where he’s sat. Stupid shit like that! Our therapist even told him he should speak to his doctor and start taking antidepressants because right now he has no quality of life. She spoke sense and I will forever love that woman ♡
Right now, in my life, I am a single mum who gets a break for about 3 hours a month (the Father Dearest is a piece of shit and keeps dropping contact).
My mum has metastasised breast cancer throughout her whole body and is undergoing treatment. I’m the only member of the family close enough and physically able to look after her when she needs it. Thankfully it’s not too horrendous at the moment and the hardest thing is that she’s acting like an absolute dick 😂
I’m working 2 jobs, neither of which are what I want to be doing, one of which is for my mum and her little business.
My house has no bathroom floor, is full of damp and woodworm, and my lovely landlady couldn’t give less of a shit! (We hit the 3 month mark for no bathroom floor a week or so ago. It’s ok though, we have ancient sticky back yellow tiles on damp/crumbling concrete and a manhole cover to stand on!)
But still, every night right before I go to sleep, I email Mash a funny picture so he’ll smile when he wakes up. One smile a day means there’s hope, right? I offer advice and suggestions and take a constant onslaught of rejection in every form imaginable, and still, I’m waiting on the outside, on my own.
3 weeks ago I decided I had to put my oxygen mask on. Mash yelled at me when I expressed a feeling of insecurity and it was wrong. I’m human too. I have feelings and opinions and I’m just as fucking valid as every single person on this earth. I shouldn’t be punished for being human. A very fucking patient and understanding (and awesome) human, at that. So I broke up with Mash. I told him I wasn’t taking it anymore. I’m done being used as an unintentional verbal/emotional punchbag. I want to be with someone who actually wants to be with me and can express that. I don’t think that’s particularly too much to ask! To be fair to Mash, he understood exactly what I was saying and why I was saying it.
He’s decided to start therapy for just him, we’ve stayed in touch, we went to our final couples therapy session despite having broken up.
I’ve not been strong enough to walk away completely. I’m still waiting. Hoping. Referring to him as my fucking boyfriend 😂 I know he loves me, he just needs to remember how to feel again. Until then, I’m not taking my oxygen mask off. I need to breathe and survive and function and not panic that somebody else may suffocate when they have the power to make the same decisions I do.
We can all put on our own oxygen masks.
We’re fucking grown ups.